Tesla just announced that it plans to make more and more sales via the online route. The company claims that ordering a Tesla will take less than 2 minutes.
Whoa! Hold on Mr. Musk; please read this buying experience.
I bought a Tesla recently, and the whole process was such a dramatic series of incidents that I want to share the experience with you.
I had been keen on buying a Tesla for a long time and was waiting for the right time. Honestly, I was having a hard time letting go of my beloved Audi RS5. But I realized that like all great loves, the time had come to move on. I wanted to buy a family car, without compromising on the speed and fun factor, and Tesla was the obvious choice.
I have tracked all Tesla launches and have been following CEO Elon Musk on Twitter for a long time now. Having zeroed in on the brand, it didn’t take me more than ten minutes to find the right car.
Of course, I followed the Tesla portal route to place the order for my favorite model. The Tesla internet salesperson was quick to answer my email and phone queries. But I was informed that they could not ship to Tampa. Since the closet delivery for used cars is from Orlando, I would have to travel to Orlando to pick up the vehicle. I agreed to all the terms and accepted the offer. At this point, the salesperson assigned a delivery manager for my order.
Little did I know that the Tesla saga was just beginning!
I had to find a bank which could offer the lowest rates interest, and since I am a AAA member, I got a good deal from them. Dealing with AAA Bank online was a pleasant experience. They checked everything online and approved my loan in a few minutes as well as sent me the instruction to claim the loan amount digitally through their portal.
I forwarded those details to the Tesla internet salesperson. Now bear in my mind, I am dealing with an Elon Musk company, and expect Tesla to be at the frontier of technology in every aspect of its working.
So, what happened next came as a complete surprise – the salesperson had no idea how to claim that money from AAA Bank. Worst still, he disappeared on me. Over the next three or four days, he did not return my calls or respond to my emails. I began to wonder if I had left my loyal old love (Audi) for an unreliable new one.
It was only after I spoke to the supervisor did the salesperson call me back with the answer that Tesla does not accept such loans from AAA. I was told to either send a cashier check or pay at the time of delivery. I decided not to argue with him at that point since I didn’t want further delays in delivery. So, I removed my trade-I from their portal and accepted all the terms as is.
A Tesla salesperson called me back and said that they can now ship the car to Tampa. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that because this will save my trip to Orlando; not knowing that they would charge me an additional $2000 for shipping the car; the previous salesman didn’t disclose that to me. I agreed to this and moved on. The car was scheduled for delivery in a few weeks.
The initial disappointments notwithstanding, I was once again feeling excited about owning a Tesla in a few days. Unfortunately, my happiness was short-lived.
The online Tesla account still showed a shipping delivery address of Orlando. I asked the salesperson a few times, but he never replied. After several attempts to reach him, the salesperson reverted saying that the expected arrival date for my car in Tampa is March 22nd, but when I had asked him a couple of days before he had said March 26th. The ETA had been moved up but I had not been informed.
He sent me the delivery address which was again different than the one mentioned on their final invoice. I called him and again and confirmed if the car will be delivered on the Brandon address and he reaffirmed yes. They have two different offices Tampa and Brandon, and my car will be given at the Brandon address.
I called the Brandon office the same day to find the status of my car, and they said yes, I could come for taking the delivery of the vehicle. I reconfirmed the address, and the girl at customer service said yes, your car is available at the Brandon address.
I traveled an hour to the Brandon office with my family to get the delivery, only to find that the office was closed. Within a few minutes of my knocking at the door, a beautiful lady came out and asked if we were there for the delivery of the car. However, the biggest shock awaited us – their delivery manager and call center both had given me the wrong address, and in fact, my car was not at the Brandon office. Whosoever gave me the address messed up by now because we are already an hour late for our pre-scheduled appointment.
I had lost all hope by then of being able to pick the car the same day. Bringing the whole family for this trip increasingly felt like a bad idea; my thirteen-year-old daughter was getting restless, and my wife was blaming me saying that I was probably the one who mixed up the details.
Finally, the customer service girl at Brandon gave us the same address which was written on the invoice and a phone number to call. She told us that it was not too late to pick up the car from the other location. We had no choice but to go.
We arrived at the Tampa location where the beautiful car delivery center was waiting for us without any human beings inside the store. We could find one family who was also waiting for their delivery. I like the lovely concept of unmanned offices they have. They had lush red sofas and standing tables and chairs all around the lounge with free coffee and candies.
I called the number I had been given, and they told me we know you are here (must be the hidden cameras), we are preparing the document and will be with you shortly.
It took almost like twenty minutes before someone showed up to inform me that the car would be there soon. An hour passed and a driver left a white color car 60D written on it at the front. I thought it might be someone else’s car because I ordered 75D.
Well when the customer service female showed up with the paperwork and said this is our car, I was again shocked and almost fell from the chair. I thought in my mind that I am not that stupid as to order the wrong model. When I told her that I ordered 75D, she was surprised too and went to check the VIN no of the car again, came back and said this is your car. Let me check with my supervisor, she said.
Her supervisor came who was the same guy who came to greet us first and seemed to be the most knowledgeable person around. He said very confidently that Tesla produced some cars in the late year 2016 where the actual car was 75D, but the Badge in the back was written 60D. They checked the software inside, and it was indeed right. So, I took his advice, and he further added that they are willing to swap the badge for free of cost and will send the technician at home. I just nodded my neck and said whatever I will take it.
It was quite late in the day, so we signed the paperwork without reading the document. I left with the Tesla simply because I was not prepared for any more surprises, so I even didn’t wait for the training provided by Tesla on driving the car. I said to myself that I would figure it out through their manual. My family and I had dinner and went back home.
I just got a call from Tesla service department that they want to schedule an appointment to replace the badge, and by the way, it’s free!
It really must be my lucky day.
Thank you, Elon Musk, for giving me such an ‘out-of-this-world’ joy ride while buying Tesla.
By the way, it drives great!
Made in India, Serving Humanity, Living in Safety Harbor Florida, USA. Healthcare Entrepreneur. Author ”A Philanthropist Without Money” Driven by an inherent desire for knowledge and creative thinking, I harnessed my “Mid Life” energies to becoming a student again, challenging myself to take an executive course in ‘Global Healthcare Innovation’ from Harvard Business School and a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship from the University of South Florida. Not satisfied with personal success alone, now I’m on a mission to help other aspiring entrepreneurs through mentoring, nurturing, raising funding, and connecting people with more possibilities.